Jun 27, 2007 at 12:09 pm #1223881
Do ye UL freaks ever use just your Photon Freedom microlights for night hikes? Do you recommend them? Why or why not?Jun 27, 2007 at 12:19 pm #1393640
Slightly off topic, but you can buy the Photon Freedom microlight here for $12.95 shipped ($9.95 + $3.00 shipping). My experience is they ship the same day you pay – bought from them twice.
Mine came with the clip and lanyard.Jun 27, 2007 at 12:31 pm #1393642
Great minds think alike! I bought from the exact same vendor. I am confident that they are more than bright enough for nighttime camp use — but am just wondering if folks use them for nighttime hikes — or not…Jun 27, 2007 at 12:36 pm #1393643
Arapiles .BPL Member
Lots of people on TLB have used them around camp – you could use them for hiking if you were somewhere very dark (which sounds counter-intuitive but your eyes adapt if there's less ambient light). One thing I found is that the versions without the "covert" cover over the LED do shine back into your eyes, so putting them on the bill of a cap may solve that.Jun 27, 2007 at 12:56 pm #1393645
I've hiked 3 1/2 miles at 11 pm on a hilly obvious trail with a green light Micro with no problem.
I can imagine worse scenarios, ie no trail, rainy, mountainous, when circumstance would have to be mighty dire to try it.
So I'd answer "Yes!" and "No!". Sorry, that's probably not that helpful.Jun 27, 2007 at 1:03 pm #1393647
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
The Photon II has amazing brightness compared to the original, but after about an hour when the peak power of the battery fades it drops off considerably. Nice that the power is completely controlable. I have no problem using it as my primary light, but make sure that I always carry at least 2 backup batteries (.1oz each). I use it with the clip on a cap bill for night hiking.Jun 27, 2007 at 1:14 pm #1393648
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I'd think it depends primarily on one's night vision capabilities. The only way the Freedom can support sustained walking is either using it intermittantly or dimming it enough to support steady output.
As the output graph in the Spotlite shows, it simply can't sustain the maximum initial output, which is fleeting. My experience is that while it's bright enough to walk with initially, even on sketchy trails, it's only that way for relatively few minutes.
All that said, for those with good night vision, and who protect it (by wearing very good sunglasses on bright days), can probably walk clear trails for quite a while using one.
We have staffers who carry them exclusively. I prefer a small headlamp.Jun 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm #1393650
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
I only bring a headlamp for some group trips or for mtneering
some of the strato volcano climbs involve leaving camp before 1st light and on uneven terrain associated w/ these early forays, having a light that can throw a beam farther than my Freedom is a necessity. On solo trips, I carry 2 Photon Freedoms—-one the superbright white variety, the other, a "turquoise" for preserving night vision (like red, but brighter). I have navigated miles of trail at night with both. The latter is better, because I can still read a map or chack out a compass bearing without blotting out my night vision and can still pick out a trail. Wherever possible , at night, I try to walk by ambient light.Jun 27, 2007 at 1:47 pm #1393655
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Depends on how I expect to depend on the light and what sort of path I am following.
There are three issues with the micro light:
1) Side spill which is easily cured with a bit of tape or the "stealth" model or the Ritter version of the photon freedom (aka the mk II photon).
2) Battery life: I found that the photon is useful for hours around camp…. but less than a couple of hours when it's bright enough for night hiking. If you are really going to depend on artificial light constinously for multiple hours, go with something that has bigger batteries. If you night hiking is done with a clear sky and a bright moon you will only need to use the photons for a few minutes each hour and battery life isn't an issue.
3) Short throw: The photon (even in the stealth form) has a relatively short throw. If you are following a well establish trail then the photon is find. If you are going cross country or on poorly marked trails I have found I want a brightly light with a long throw to been able to find the trail when it seems to disappear.
–markJun 27, 2007 at 9:18 pm #1393698
Thanks, everyone! This is very helpful.Jun 28, 2007 at 7:55 am #1393746
Michael CrosbyBPL Member
One of the tricks I learned in the military is to look 30 degrees above whatever you want to see at night and “see” using your peripheral vision. That is to say you use the sides of your retina. The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous of the photoreceptors, some 120 million, and are the more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color. They are responsible for our dark-adapted, or scotopic, vision. The rods are incredibly efficient photoreceptors. More than one thousand times as sensitive as the cones, they can reportedly be triggered by individual photons under optimal conditions. While the visual acuity or visual resolution is much better with the cones, the rods are better motion sensors. Since the rods predominate in the peripheral vision, that peripheral vision is more light sensitive, enabling you to see dimmer objects in your peripheral vision. If you see a dim star in your peripheral vision, it may disappear when you look at it directly since you are then moving the image onto the cone-rich fovea region which is less light sensitive. You can detect motion better with your peripheral vision, since it is primarily rod vision.Jun 28, 2007 at 8:15 am #1393749
Adam RothermichBPL Member
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Good tip Mikie. Our scoutmaster taught us that one on a night hike once. He was/is in the Army Reserve. I've always done that ever since. It never occurred to me that it might not be common knowledge, I'll definitely have to pass that along.
(And also how I remember what cones and rods are responsible for, cones and color start with the same letter :) )
AdamJun 28, 2007 at 8:33 am #1393754
Eric NobleBPL Member
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
Like Kevin, I carry the white and the night vision green (NVG) Photon Freedoms. I also carry the red because the red and the NVG combined make a pretty decent white light. So, if I need a lot of light I can combine all three. Besides, the odds of me being without light because of some failure are now extremely small. I've hiked in the dark with each one individually but haven't needed to use all three yet. I wouldn't want to hike for long with the red in the wrong conditions. The white and the NVG are quite serviceable though not ideal if the trail isn't clear. As I recall the NVG and the red have a longer burn time than the white. If I put all the lights in flashing mode and attach them to my hat brim I can pull people over for traffic and Leave No Trace violations :).Jun 28, 2007 at 4:50 pm #1393810
I know this discussion is about the Freedoms, and I own them too. They are a decent light… but I'll take a small weight penalty for my Fenix LOD CE. I just put it on the scale and with a lithium battery and split ring it tips the scales at 22 grams.
It's a serious light with 8.5 hours of usable light and three different levels (strobes too if you're into that). It has the new Cree LED. Turn the clip around and it slips right onto your hat bill. Everything about this design works for me. Mine does have the specially binned Q2 which may be slightly brighter. Not sure if it makes enough difference to be worth the money though. I have the single 123 also, but hardly ever grab it. The LOD is always my first choice.
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